Twenty-four new cases of chronic wasting disease were found out of nearly 27,000 tissue samples collected this season from white-tailed deer, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The new cases of the cureless prion disease that’s lethal for deer were not found outside of counties where hunters were mandated to turn in samples on the day of harvest Nov. 16 or 17 for testing, according to a Friday news release from MDC.
“While any new cases of CWD are not good news, we are happy that no cases have been found in new counties this year,” MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten said in the news release.
Two cases of CWD were found in Adair County, five in Franklin County, five in Linn County, two in Macon County, two in Perry County, five in Ste. Genevieve County, two in Stone County and one in Taney County, according to the news release.
The Conservation Department looks for the disease to find cases early and limit the spread of the disease.
“Overall, CWD remains relatively rare in the state and even in most areas where it has been found,” Batten added. “These results suggest that our disease-management actions are working.”
The 24 new cases bring the total number of CWD cases in Missouri since 2011-12 to 140. There were 41 cases last year and 33 the year before that.
The only Mid-Missouri case was one deer in Cole County in 2014-15.
MDC has tested about 130,000 deer since the first cases of CWD were found in free-ranging deer in 2012.
MDC had mandatory sampling efforts in 29 counties the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season. That yielded about 18,800 tissue samples, and about another 8,000 came from what was collected by taxidermists and meat processors around the state.
Free voluntary sampling is open through the end of deer season, Jan. 15. MDC will also continue management efforts after the close of the season into March by working with landowners on a voluntary basis to cull more potentially infected deer in immediate areas around where recent cases were found.
Batten said there were only three new CWD cases near the Missouri-Arkansas border, “an area of heightened concern considering the extent of CWD in northwest Arkansas,” according to the news release.
“More than 700 deer and elk in northwest Arkansas have been confirmed to have CWD in the past few years, so we consider finding only three new cases in Stone and Taney counties of southwest Missouri to be good news,” Batten said.
More information is available at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.